5 Reasons To Start Sleep Training TODAY

Sleep Training

Let me be clear: when to sleep train is a personal choice, that’s heavily dependent on a lot of unique factors. There is not age when all parents “should” sleep train, and while there are sleep training windows that tend to be better for sleep training, and help the process move along smoothly, we always caution parents not to feel pressured to sleep coach during or by a certain time frame.

That said – we hear almost daily from parents who are beyond exhausted, whose families are losing precious sleep, whose nerves are fraying, whose work performance is suffering – and who are putting off sleep training. And most of the time, their reasons for putting it off are something along these lines:

  • I don’t even know how or where to begin!
  • I don’t have the energy to sleep train…I’m just too tired.
  • I already know it won’t go well; my child just isn’t a “good” sleeper.

Well, we’ve learned from experience that sometimes, parents who are stalling on sleep training (even though they are incredibly tired and sleep-deprived!) simply need a pep talk to get them going. And that’s just what we’re providing today! Read on for 5 reasons it’s time to stop putting off sleep coaching, and start working on sleep today.

5 Reasons To Stop Putting Off Sleep Training TODAY

  1. There is no “perfect time” for sleep training.
  2. Our consultants have talked with sooooo many parents who are putting off sleep training because they are waiting for the right time. Waiting for the 4 month sleep regression to pass, waiting for their baby to start solids, waiting until a bout of teething is over, etc. But here’s the thing: in general, the “perfect” time to sleep train is right now! Sure, you want to hold off on sleep training if your child is ill, or if you have a vacation coming up, or a big transition (like moving to a new house). However, if you have a few weeks where you’ll be staying at home and not having many schedule interruptions, and if your child is healthy, then guess what? That’s a great time to sleep train!

  3. The first step is always the hardest to take – but once it’s done, it tends to get easier!
  4. We hear from many, many parents that they are itching to sleep train, but that they don’t know where to start. Should they start working on bedtime and naps at the same time? What time of day is best to begin? Should they start on a weekday, or over the weekend? What kind of sleep training method is best for them? How can they know if their plan is working nor not? These are such good questions, but they can feel daunting when you’re a tired parent who’s trying to map out a sleep training plan. Fortunately, we have a team of expert consultants standing by who specialize in helping tired families get started with their Personalized Sleep Plan™. We’ve also had a lot of overwhelmed parents find great success with our Express Sleep Plan™ – it’s a budget-friendly sleep plan that’ll tell you exactly how to get started with sleep training, and provide you with step-by-step daily instructions.

  5. Being “too tired” to sleep train is precisely the reason you SHOULD sleep train!
  6. This really becomes a circular, chicken-and-egg sort of issue: being exhausted and sleep-deprived makes you realize you should really work on sleep training, but they all that stored-up tiredness makes you feel too worn out to sleep train! But here’s the thing to remember: the fact that you’re super-tired is a great indicator that you should sleep train 😉 What Nicole usually recommends is that you and your family catch up on sleep as best you can for a few days, so that you have a well-rested start to sleep coaching. That way, you have an energized start to the process. You can read this post about 5 things to do before you start sleep training for more details.

  7. There are many ways to help your child learn to sleep – which means there is a sleep training method that will work for you.
  8. So many parents we hear from tell us that the #1 reason they put off sleep training is because they assume that sleep training = crying. That’s understandable; no one wants to listen to their child wail for hours! But this is actually a really unfortunate myth. The truth is, there are many, many ways to approach sleep training – and many of those approaches involve minimal crying.

  9. Sleep training is not one of those things that gets easier with time….in fact, for many families, the opposite is true.
  10. There are a lot of things that get easier as your child gets older. Once your child can dress himself, brush his own teeth, feed himself breakfast, and buckle himself into the car, your morning looks a whole lot calmer and more relaxed! But unfortunately, sleep training is not something that gets easier with time, for most people. Why? Because sleep habits become entrenched as your child grows, so the baby who gets accustomed to being rocked to sleep becomes the toddler who firmly believes the only way TO fall asleep is being rocked! Add to this the fact that toddlers are generally stubborn little cuties who exert their new-found will and opinions with surprising conviction, and you have a toddler with some troubling sleep associations who absolutely, plainly, without-a-doubt refuses to sleep any other way. And that can make for some tough sleep training. That’s why we recommend sleep training before your child is 12 months old; it’s simply because negative sleep associations are easier to overcome during babyhood.

    BONUS: Okay, so this is technically a sixth reason – but we couldn’t end the article without including it! Here it is: many, many parents are stunned at just how capable their children are of sleeping soundly and napping well…and we bet you will be one of them! I wanted to end with this one, because it’s encouraging. :-) Time and time again, we hear from parents who believe that because their child has never slept well, that means that their child can’t sleep well. They are convinced that putting their child to sleep drowsy, but awake is wasted effort, because their children aren’t capable of self-soothing and falling asleep independently. But you know what? Happily, these parents are almost always proven wrong! Many of these parents tell us later that they were completely surprised at how quickly their child picked up new, healthy sleep habits. And I bet that your child is just the same; even if your little one isn’t showing any signs of knowing how to self-soothe and sleep well now, that doesn’t mean that she can’t. I’ll tell you what our consultants tell their clients: have faith in your child. Your baby or toddler is going to be capable of a lot of great things in her life – including building healthy sleep habits!

Don’t Delay – Start Sleep Training Today!

Between long night wakings, struggles at bedtime and naps that feel all over the place, baby and toddler sleep challenges can feel overwhelming – so overwhelming that it may be tough to start start solving them! Fortunately, we can help! Our consultants at The Baby Sleep Site® specialize in creating Personalized Sleep Plans™ that are customized to your own parenting philosophy, and that will NEVER make you feel guilty or pressured. Even better, once you have your Personalized Sleep Plan™, your consultant will walk you through each step of implementing it at home – including that first, getting-started step.

Browse our list of consultation package options here.

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

Have motivating sleep training advice to offer other parents? Share it below! Questions about getting started with sleep training? Ask – we’ll answer!

 
bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOur Members Area is packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!
 
Essential Keys to Newborn Sleep Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep is THE newborn sleep book that will help you to not only improve your newborn’s sleep using gentle, sleep-inducing routines – it will also answer your feeding and newborn care questions. You can even buy a bundle package that includes the e-book AND a Personalized Sleep Plan™ PLUS a follow-up email to use for further support!
 
bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
 
 
bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftIf you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 45 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.
 
bss_ebook_5steptoddler_smalFor those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Help Your Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.
 

Need help knowing where to start? Visit our Help Me Choose page for helping choosing the Baby Sleep Site® resources that are right for you.

15 Ways To Mess With a Sleep Obsessed Parent

Sleep Obsessed Parent

For parents of little kids, sleep can often feel about as stable as a straw house. One mild breeze and the whole thing can come crashing down in the form of whines, tantrums, frequent night wakings and a bedtime routine that takes longer than running the Boston Marathon.

What makes this all the more frustrating is that we’ve spent so much time and effort building a strong foundation for that delicate structure that any bobble or slight collapse makes us feel like we have to start building all over again. We become the highly underpaid and stressed out General Contractor of a feeble construction site in a bad part of town.

In an effort to avoid total destruction, we sacrifice spending more time at that play date, or staying out late at a family’s party, in order to get our kids to sleep on time. However, a well-meaning friend, family member, or even a spouse who doesn’t realize how fragile this whole sleep operation is can blow an unintentional hurricane into your sleep routine, that will totally sabotage everything you’ve worked so hard to guard against.

And there is not enough plywood and duct tape to protect against that kind of disaster.

So what kinds of “hurricane-force” sleep interruptions should you be on the lookout for? We thought it would be fun to bring you some of the zanier sleep disruptions we’ve heard about over the years. Keep reading for 15 truly crazy ways to mess with a sleep-obsessed parent!

15 Ways To Mess With A Sleep-Obsessed Parent

  1. Choose nap time to start drilling that IKEA desk together.
  2. Start a favorite Disney movie 15 minutes before bedtime.
  3. Ignorantly ring the doorbell, even though there’s a post-it right on the door that politely reads “please knock”.
  4. Suggest going out for ice cream after lunch. When parents explain that nap time happens right after lunch, ask the toddler, “Wouldn’t going for ice cream be more fun than a nap?”
  5. Play hide and seek with the kid’s lovey before nap time, but then immediately forget the last place it was hidden.
  6. Shun a calming bedtime story, like Goodnight Moon, in lieu of something more “exciting”, like The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
  7. Let the kids know that you’ll be catching up on all their favorite cartoons while they sleep.
  8. Decide that nap time would be the perfect time to test the smoke alarms.
  9. Announce before putting the kids down for nap that after they wake up, the whole family will be going to Chuck E. Cheese.
  10. Skip story time before bed, and opt for “trampoline time” on the mattress instead.
  11. Offer to put the kids to bed, and then dress them in pajamas with really scratchy tags on the collar.
  12. Ask the parents if the toddler can have a quick snack before nap time. When parents say yes, offer the toddler a few handfuls of Skittles.
  13. Figure that, since it’s a pretty day, it’s a great time to rev up that motorcycle…and then let it idle forever.
  14. Since the baby looked so tired, assume it’s okay to just let them sleep “for a couple of minutes to take the edge off”, RIGHT before nap time or bedtime. Be sure to hand the baby off to parents only after she’s woken up and is really starting to scream.
  15. Sneak in to give that adorable baby one last, big, noisy smooch before leaving to go home. Be sure to step directly on all the squeaky spots on the floor as you walk out of the room.

Keep in mind that while the occasional “gale force wind” of a sleep interruption may happen, and temporarily destroy the quality sleep you’ve worked so hard to build, interruptions are to be expected every now and then. Such is life. We just hope that your interruptions are a little less “cruel and unusual” than the ones we just listed!

(Oh – and in the meantime, if you want to hand this list out to your family and friends as a “things not to do do unless you want an enemy for life” checklist, we totally understand!)

Sleep Help For The Sleep Obsessed Parent

Even the most sleep-obsessed parent needs a little sleep help now and then. (Okay, maybe LOT of sleep help right now!) That’s where we come in :-) If you need sleep help from an expert, that’s guaranteed to work, we can help! Our team of expert consultants is ready to offer you compassionate, caring support that is 100% personalized to your unique situation. We will craft a Personalized Sleep Plan™ specifically for your family, that walks you through every step of the sleep coaching process, in a way that matches your goal and parenting style.

Browse our list of consultation package options here.

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

Okay, confession time – what’s the craziest sleep-sabotaging technique you’ve witnessed? Let’s get the conversation going!

 
bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOur Members Area is packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!
 
Essential Keys to Newborn Sleep Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep is THE newborn sleep book that will help you to not only improve your newborn’s sleep using gentle, sleep-inducing routines – it will also answer your feeding and newborn care questions. You can even buy a bundle package that includes the e-book AND a Personalized Sleep Plan™ PLUS a follow-up email to use for further support!
 
bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
 
 
bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftIf you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 45 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.
 
bss_ebook_5steptoddler_smalFor those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Help Your Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.
 

5 Facts That Equal Better Toddler Sleep

Better Toddler Sleep

If you have a toddler who just won’t sleep well – who’s popping in and out of bed like a jack-in-the-box at bedtime, for instance, or who still wakes frequently at night, or who just won’t take long, restorative, consistent naps, despite your best efforts – then odds are you’re feeling at your wit’s end, and are looking for any (ANY) ideas that’ll help you get your toddler sleeping better.

Well, look no further! Today, Renee Frances, author of the adorable Good Night Fairy book series, is here with us today, sharing 5 key facts that will help even the most sleepless of toddlers get the rest they need. Read on to learn more about these 5 keys, and to learn how you can enter to win one of 6 copies of Renee’s award-winning book, A Visit From the Good Night Fairy!

5 Facts That Equal Better Toddler Sleep

  1. Consistency is Calming
  2. Your toddler will be more relaxed if she knows what is going to happen next. Predictable schedules and a bedtime routine will set the tone, and help your child to ‘wind down’ before settling into bed. To help your toddler’s body secrete that special ‘sleep hormone’, melatonin, dim the lights and shut off all screens about an hour before you begin your family’s bedtime routine. Ideally, your child’s bed time should not only allow her to get adequate sleep; it should ideally allow you and your partner or spouse a few hours of ‘down time’ without the pitter-patter of little feet.

  3. Deep Breathing is Relaxing
  4. Deep breathing (with focused attention on your breath) is a relaxation exercise that is recognized by the National Sleep Foundation as helpful for people who suffer from insomnia. Interestingly, many children practice ‘deep breathing’ naturally; their chest and bellies naturally expand with each breath. You can help your toddler intentionally practice deep breathing by having them inhale slowly through their nose, holding their breath for a few moments, then exhale through the mouth. This practice should be as “un-forced” and natural as possible.

  5. Awareness of Surroundings Decreases Anxiety
  6. Your child is less likely to be anxious at night if he knows that his surroundings remain unchanged even when the lights are off. Simply installing a nightlight can resolve your little one’s fear of the dark. Sometimes, however, the shadows may be worrisome because their shapes are somewhat unexpected or unfamiliar. To help illustrate the concept that shadows are ‘what happen when light can’t go through an object’, you can show your child how to make a ‘shadow puppet’ with a flashlight and your (or his) hand, or some favourite toys. Show him how the length of the shadow changes with the angle of the light hitting the object. By taking the mystery out of ‘the dark’, you may help your child feel less fearful.

  7. Positive Self-Talk Reduces Stress
  8. Positive self-talk and its counterpart, positive thinking, correlate strongly with many important health benefits, including lower levels of distress, lower levels of depression, and greater psychological and physical well-being. Teaching your child the skill of approaching a challenging or unpleasant situation (and for some toddlers, bedtime is just that!) in a more positive way can have both immediate benefits and long-term effects. Guiding your child through some positive self-talk at bedtime can be an effective tool to help your ‘reluctant sleeper’ to sleep well through the night and have a happier tomorrow.

  9. Rewards Increase the Likelihood of Desired Behaviours
  10. Offering rewards as incentives increases the likelihood of a desired behaviour. Rewards are particularly effective for individuals who are reluctant to perform a ‘target’ behaviour – like a toddler who’s reluctant to go to bed! If the behaviour that you desire is for your child to sleep through the night on her own, reward that behaviour when it happens. In preparation, your child should know that staying in her own room throughout the night may result in a reward.

How A Visit From The Good Night Fairy Can Help Your Toddler Sleep

A Visit From The Good Night FairyA Visit from the Good Night Fairy weaves all 5 of these key facts throughout the storyline, making it a great bedtime tool for your toddler This clever and engaging tale unfolds with a typical night in the life of a young family, whose little one seems to have some common night time fears. This night is special, however, because after waking up early and finding her child still in his own bed, Mommy has a chance encounter with the “Good Night Fairy” herself, who places a small gift at the foot of the still-sleeping child’s bed!

You can use the themes in this story to your advantage. Be prepared to reward your child the on the very first occasion that he successfully sleeps through the night on his own. The reward should something that your toddler enjoys (e.g., a sticker or a coin), and it can be left for him at the foot of the bed (as the Good Night Fairy does), under the pillow, or even near the bedroom door, if you are afraid your child may wake up if you enter the room.

To ensure that your child understands the connection between sleeping through the night and the gift from the Good Night Fairy (named REMy, after the Rapid Eye Movement stage of sleep), reward the first two or three nights that he successfully sleeps through on his own (this is known as a Continuous Schedule of Reinforcement). After a few nights, switch to a Partial Schedule of Reinforcement, during which your toddler will need to sleep two (or three) nights in a row before receiving a reward. Partial schedules of reinforcement use fewer resources, are very effective, and more likely to help your toddler make sleeping through the night a permanent habit. (Note that it’s important that your child does not receive a reward unless he actually sleeps through the night on his own.)

After your child is sleeping on his own for 5-7 consecutive nights, leave your child with a note from ‘REMy’, congratulating him for being such a ‘big kid’. The Good Night Fairy might add that she will still make sure that your child is safe and well through the night, but will no longer leave gifts (which are for children who really need the REMy’s help).

How To Win One Of 6 Copies Of A Visit From The Good Night Fairy

A Visit From The Good Night FairyThe techniques discussed above have been clinically proven to soothe, relax, empower, decrease anxiety, and increase the likelihood of desired behaviour – which means they’re perfect tools to use with your bedtime-resistant toddler! Renee’s adorable book, A Visit from the Good Night Fairy, incorporates each of these five tools: a consistent bedtime routine, deep breathing, positive self-talk, use of a night light, and positive reinforcement. This Mom’s Choice Award-winning children’s picture book just may be the perfect tool to help motivate your child to have a more restful night’s sleep.

And we bet that whether you have a sleep-fighting toddler at home right now, or whether you want to be ready for the day when your wee babe becomes a sleep-fighting toddler, you’ll want to take advantage of this chance to win a FREE copy of your own! Best of all, Renee has graciously agreed to personalize each winning copy with a special note for your family.

Here are the details:

  • Enter to win any time between 8 a.m EDT, Monday, March 23rd and 8 p.m. EDT, Monday, March 30th.
  • This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian entrants only.
  • Winners must be willing to provide a mailing address for prize shipment.

Enter to win today, using the Rafflecopter widget below:

d123276e569e4632569136ede7781896As a teacher, businesswoman, wife, and a mom of two lovely young girls, Renee Frances can appreciate the importance of a good night’s sleep! Inspired (read: exhausted) by real-life events, Renee penned “A Visit from the Good Night Fairy” with the hopes of helping more little-ones (and their family members!) sleep through the night on their own.
 
 

Resources For ALL Your Baby And Toddler Sleep Challenges

No matter what sleep challenges you’re facing, our team of expert sleep consultants can help! We’re standing by, ready to craft a Personalized Sleep Plan™ just for your family, that’s tailored to your unique challenges, goals, and lifestyle.

Browse our list of consultation package options here.

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

 
bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOur Members Area is packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!
 
Essential Keys to Newborn Sleep Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep is THE newborn sleep book that will help you to not only improve your newborn’s sleep using gentle, sleep-inducing routines – it will also answer your feeding and newborn care questions. You can even buy a bundle package that includes the e-book AND a Personalized Sleep Plan™ PLUS a follow-up email to use for further support!
 
bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
 
 
bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftIf you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 45 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.
 
bss_ebook_5steptoddler_smalFor those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Help Your Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.
 

25 Nap Time Tips: How To Help Your Baby Nap Better and Longer

25 Nap Time Tips

We know, parents, we know – judging by what we’re hearing from many of you in our Helpdesk, naps are high on your radar! You want to know how to make them more consistent, how to make them longer, how to make each nap as restorative as possible…in short, you want to become the Nap Jedis. And we get it; a great nap schedule is, after all, one of the keys to sleeping through the night!

bss_ebook_7napmistakes_left-transIf you’re struggling with short and inconsistent naps, you’ll definitely want to take a moment to download our free nap guide – it’s a great, easy-to-read guide that walks you through some of the most common napping mistakes we parents tend to make, and offers tips on how to solve them.
 

You’ll also want to keep reading this article – it lays out 25 nap time tips you can start using as early as your child’s next nap!

25 Nap Time Tips You Can Put To Use Today – As Early As Your Child’s Next Nap!

  1. Don’t force a nap time schedule too soon. Most babies aren’t ready for a by-the-clock nap time schedule until around 5 months or 6 months; forcing your child onto a clock-based nap schedule before then can actually results in over tiredness, which will make overall sleep worse.
  2. Rigid or flexible nap schedule? Speaking of schedules – all nap schedules don’t look the same, and not all nap schedules work for all babies. Some babies and parents do great with a flexible, relaxed daytime schedule that works more like a rough outline of how the day will go. Other families, however, do better with a rigid schedule that is extremely predictable. And even the same baby may need different schedules at different seasons of life, so be ready to get flexible or tighten up depending on your baby’s development and needs.
  3. For newborns and young babies – watch sleep cues closely. Don’t watch the clock to determine your newborn’s next nap – instead, watch for sleepy cues, like yawning, eye-rubbing, staring off into space, etc. If you wait until your baby is fussing, you’ve waited too long – crying is usually a sign of over tiredness.
  4. Offer your toddler a snack or meal before nap time. Your toddler’s rapid growth and development (not to mention boundless energy!) burn a lot of calories, so be sure to offer a meal or a small snack before nap time – this will prevent your toddler from waking early from the nap, out of hunger.
  5. Offer your baby a feeding close to, but not right before, nap time. Toddlers need food fairly close to nap time, but be careful about feeding your young baby right before a nap – particularly if your baby has reflux or GERD. Feed and burp, and then make sure your child is upright for a bit, so that you avoid a mid-nap spit-up session.
  6. Create a nap time routine. Bedtime routines are great, and nap time routines are, too! Your nap time routine can simply be a shortened version of your bedtime routine. Be sure to do it consistently before each nap, as a way to set the stage for good nap time sleep.
  7. Avoid screen time right before nap time. TV and sleep do not mix! Avoid having your toddler watch TV or play on an iPad or tablet right before nap time, as it may lead to a too-short nap. End all screen time at least 30 minutes before your toddler’s nap time.
  8. Avoid too many on-the-go naps. On-the-go sleep (the kind that happens in a carseat or stroller) is less restorative than sleep that happens in the crib. Occasional on-the-go naps are fine, but the majority of your child’s naps should happen at home, or at a caregiver’s.
  9. For younger babies, work on having one or two naps a day in the crib, if you’re working towards more independent sleep. There’s no rush to work on sleep coaching with your young baby, but if you’re working on helping your baby sleep more independently, aim for the first morning nap (and possibly the first afternoon nap) happen in the crib. You can also work laying your baby down drowsy but awake during these naps.
  10. No naps before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m. For babies older than 3 or 4 months, a good rule of thumb is to have no early-morning or evening naps. Early-morning naps tend to reinforce early-waking habits, and evening naps tend to mess with bedtime.
  11. Wake your child from a nap that’s going too long. You don’t generally want to wake a sleeping baby(that’s especially true for newborns!), but there are times when you need to wake your child from sleep, and an extra-long nap is one of those times. If your child naps too much during the day, it will almost certainly affect night sleep.
  12. Avoid letting naps in the infant swing become a habit. It’s fine to use the swing to soothe and relax your baby – and it’s no problem if your child catches an occasional “swing nap”. But avoid letting your baby take the majority of her naps in the swing.
  13. Catnaps are normal for newborns and young babies, and during a nap transition. In general, you want an hour to be around an hour (or more) in order to be restful. If your child’s naps are always 30 or 45 minutes, that’s a problem. However, short catnaps are very normal for newborns, and during a nap transition, when your child is working on dropping a nap.
  14. Know the timing and signs of nap transitions. Speaking of nap transitions – it’s a great idea to read up on when they happen and how to ease the transition for your child. Nap transitions can be tough, but the more you know, the easier they are to manage.
  15. White noise can be key to making naps last longer. All those daytime noises – dogs barking, phone ringing, traffic bustling – can make it hard for your child to sleep well. White noise is a great way to block out these sounds, and help your child sleep deeply.
  16. Make sure your nap expectations are reasonable. We find that lots of parents make the mistake of expecting too much nap sleep from their children – so what they see as nap “problems” really aren’t problems at all. Be sure to learn how much nap sleep your child really needs, and keep your expectations reasonable.
  17. Understand that nap sleep and night sleep are different. Your child may sleep well at night, but that doesn’t guarantee naps will be great. Why? Because nap sleep and night sleep are very, very different, and are handled by different parts of your child’s brain.
  18. Remember that nap training and nighttime sleep training are different. Speaking of the ways that nap sleep and night sleep differ – remember that the approaches you use to sleep train for nights and for naps may need to be different. You may need to use different sleep training methods, a different pace, etc.
  19. Find a balance between noise and silence. Creating an optimal nap environment (read: quite and dark) can go a long way towards lengthening naps. But don’t go crazy with it; after all, depending on your living situation, daylight hours may be noisy around your house! Know that you can’t prevent every disruptive sound, and while it’s true that you probably can’t teach your baby to sleep through noise, you also can’t drop a “cone of silence” over your home at nap time, either! 😉
  20. Find a balance between light and dark. Just as keeping your child’s napping area dark can really help produce great naps, keeping your baby’s room very dim during naps can be a great way to signal to your child that it’s time to settle down and sleep. But again, don’t go crazy with it…you probably won’t have much luck in making your baby’s room pitch-black at noon on a sunny day!
  21. Don’t switch to one nap too soon (many parents do!) Many parents make the mistake of assuming that the transition from 2 naps to 1 should happen around 12 months (probably because there’s a little nap regression that happens around that time), but most babies aren’t ready to transition to 1 nap at 12 months.
  22. Establish “rest time” for your toddler, once he’s done with naps. When your toddler is ready to stop napping, you don’t have to give up your afternoon peace and quiet! Instead, try establishing a “rest hour” for your toddler.
  23. If you’re sleep training, you may want to work on nights before naps. This is not a hard-and-fast rule, of course, but some families find that it’s easier work on nighttime sleep first, and then focus on naps once nighttime sleep has improved.
  24. When sleep training, know how long to work on a nap (and when to give up!) How long you should work on naps during sleep training will vary from child to child (and a sleep consultant can help you figure out the timing that’s best for your child), but in general, you don’t want to spend 2 hours working on one nap! 😉 Instead, work on a nap for awhile, then take a break. You can try again, or – depending on your nap schedule – you may need to wait until the next nap time to try again.
  25. Take “schedule busters” in stride, but don’t let them undo your nap progress. “Schedule busters” like teething, growth spurts, illness, and sleep regressions can destroy your child’s napping habits temporarily. It’s fine to take a break form your usual napping routines to comfort your child, but be sure that you avoid creating any new napping habits you’ll have to undo later.

Don’t Endure Another Bleary-Eyed Day: Get Nap Help From A Pro!

Working on nap sleep really stumps some families (again – nap sleep is different than night sleep!). But not to worry…if naps are a nightmare in your home, we can help! Our team of expert consultants is ready to offer you compassionate, caring support that is 100% personalized to your unique situation. We will craft a Personalized Sleep Plan™ specifically for your family, that walks you through every step of the sleep coaching process, in a way that matches your goal and parenting style.

Browse our list of consultation package options here.

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

Have nap time tips of your own? Share them below! Nap time questions? Ask, and we’ll answer!

 
bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOur Members Area is packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!
 
 
bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftIf you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 45 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.
 
Essential Keys to Newborn Sleep Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep is THE newborn sleep book that will help you to not only improve your newborn’s sleep using gentle, sleep-inducing routines – it will also answer your feeding and newborn care questions. You can even buy a bundle package that includes the e-book AND a Personalized Sleep Plan™ PLUS a follow-up email to use for further support!
 
bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
 
 
bss_ebook_5steptoddler_smalFor those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Help Your Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.
 

11 Cry It Out Dos and Don’ts (Plus How Your Baby’s Temperament Affects Cry It Out Sleep Training)

Cry It Out Dos and Don'ts

We’ve said a lot over the years about cry it out sleep training methods: we’ve defined cry it out and shared ages to try it (if you feel so led), differences between controlled crying and cry it out, how to determine if you should try cry it out, and whether or not cry it out will change your baby’s personality.

But nevertheless, this is a topic that we get lots of questions about in our Helpdesk. Specifically, lots of parents ask us when they should/shouldn’t try cry it out, and how cry it out is going to work with their babies’ personalities and temperaments.

Well, you’ve asked – and now we’re answering! Keep reading for 11 vital dos and don’ts of cry it out sleep training, as well as tips to help you decide whether or not cry it out will work with your child’s temperament.

11 Cry It Out Sleep Training Dos and Don’ts

A quick note – please don’t take this article to mean that we are recommending you try cry it out over other sleep training methods. We’re not! We know that most families really prefer to try gentler methods, and can’t stand the idea of hearing their babies cry…but we also know that some families end up needing to use cry it out, for a variety for reasons. That’s why we share information about cry it out sleep training – because we know that some of you will need it.

And that transitions us nicely into point #1…

  1. DO explore other methods, because cry it out is many parents’ last resort – and there are a number of other, gentle sleep training methods that can work well.
  2. DO establish a strong foundation first – make sure your child’s environment is sleep-friendly, and that you’ve made any necessary changes to your child’s sleep and feeding schedule at least 1 week before you start sleep training. You’ll also want to rule out any other cases of your child’s night waking or short naps before you try cry it out. Our team is 100% committed to using this kind of holistic approach to sleep, which is why we NEVER jump straight to cry it out sleep training.
  3. DO make sure you are prepared to follow through. Cry it out requires a lot of resolve – you have to be ready to go down that road!
  4. DO find a support system to help you through. Make sure your spouse or partner is on board (that’s key to cry it out success, as you both have to respond to your baby in the same way in order for sleep training to work). If your spouse isn’t supportive, make sure you have a friend or other family member you can turn to to vent. And, of course, you can always turn to our team of expert consultants for compassionate support and a sympathetic ear, as well as expert advice in how to make sure cry it out goes as smoothly (and as quickly) as possible.
  5. DO make a plan ahead of time. A plan is critical to any kind of sleep training success, but it is especially key to cry it out success. You need to decide ahead of time how you’re going to handle your baby’s crying, and what your overall timeline for sleep training looks like.
  6. DON’T try cry it out sleep training too young. You should always use gentle methods to help your baby learn to sleep well during the newborn stage, and even at 4 months 6 months, you will likely want to go for gentler approaches.
  7. DON’T night-wean at the same time you are using cry it out. Why? Because doubt about whether or not your baby is crying out of hunger, or crying because he wants help falling asleep, will eat away at even the best of plans.
  8. DON’T send mixed messages or be inconsistent in your approach. Stick to your sleep coaching plan for at least a week or two before you make changes – and be sure that while you are using cry it out sleep coaching, you are as consistent as possible in how you respond to your baby. If you’re inconsistent, it’s unfair to your child – not to mention confusing.
  9. DON’T wait until you’re at your wit’s end and do it. See, parents who resort to cry it out because they’re practically cross-eyed with exhaustion tend to do it without a plan, and then ultimately end up sending mixed messages and being inconsistent (see the previous point).
  10. DON’T do naps and nights at the same time. This just ends up being too much crying for your baby AND for you, and that can make it nearly impossible to follow through.
  11. DON’T have high expectations that you will be “done” in 3 days. While that’s true for some, it’s not true for all. Instead, plan for a realistic timeline before you start.

Cry It Out Sleep Training And Your Baby’s Temperament

It’s important to remember that trying cry it out sleep training with your baby isn’t just about whether or not you’re ready to try it – it’s about how your baby will handle the process, too! The truth is, certain temperaments respond much better to cry it out than others, so knowing ahead of time how your baby’s personality will mesh with cry it out is important.

You can read our entire baby sleep and temperament series for specific details on how each temperament trait will work with cry it out, but here’s a quick summary to get you started:

  • Slow to adapt, persistent, and intense children may have a harder time with CIO and cry too intensely, because cry it out can be such an abrupt change from what they’re used to.
  • An adaptable, easy-going baby will likely cry very little, if at all.
  • With consistent babies, it may be easier to time up bedtime and nap times, giving you more confidence that your baby is ready for sleep at bedtime and at nap time. That, in turn, will make it easier to stay consistent with cry it out, because you won’t be wondering if your baby is crying because she’s not tired enough for sleep.
  • High-energy babies may need longer wind-down times before sleep, and may also have more energy to cry longer, which will obviously make cry it out tough.

Now, this isn’t to say that you CAN’T do cry it out with a baby who is slow to adapt, persistent, intense, or high-energy – that’s not the case. It simply means that you will need to proceed with caution, and to have appropriate expectations.

All this said, if you’re struggling with sleep training your baby – whether you’re considering cry it out or not – you may need help from an expert. Our team of expert consultants is ready to offer you compassionate, caring support that is 100% personalized to your unique situation. Whether you want to start with gentle methods, or whether you want personalized recommendations about how to proceed with cry it out, we will work with you, and use approaches that mesh with your goals, your parenting philosophy, and your child’s personality and temperament. Let our team start working on your Personalized Sleep Plan™ today!

Browse our list of consultation package options here.

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

What are your thoughts on the dos and don’ts of cry it out? We want to hear from you!

 
bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOur Members Area is packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!
 
Essential Keys to Newborn Sleep Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep is THE newborn sleep book that will help you to not only improve your newborn’s sleep using gentle, sleep-inducing routines – it will also answer your feeding and newborn care questions. You can even buy a bundle package that includes the e-book AND a Personalized Sleep Plan™ PLUS a follow-up email to use for further support!
 
bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
 
 
bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftIf you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 45 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.
 
bss_ebook_5steptoddler_smalFor those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Help Your Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.